Chapter 1: He just wanted some Greek tea
Harry was startled when he suddenly came upon a cringing, terrified man, a corpse, and a small floating baby with a snake halo. Which… What. Harry inanely wished that being magical would help him be inured against spontaneous weird things. Potter Luck should really have made him jaded against this sort of occurrence, but he was enjoying be lost in Athens. Can’t he wander around some beautiful, ancient, winding Greek alleyways without stumbling across a crime scene in progress? And his wandhand is preoccupied by a bag of the local tea, ‘Tsai tou Vounou’ the old grannie called it. He wanted to drink it, dammit, not use it as a distraction.
“Mou~ What are you doing here? Hmm, doesn’t matter. There is nothing interesting here, perhaps you should take a walk.” The small floating child seemed to writhe with dark bluish purple fire and Harry felt a sensation like a cold imperio settle into his head. Weariness dragged at his limbs and the fact that he really didn’t know what was going on and this was none of his business. He’s on vacation, ahem, sabbatical isn’t he? Why should he care?
Harry was torn being bemused, angry, and worried. On one hand, it’s been a long time since anyone has even tried to use mind control magic on him, but at the same time the little prat was trying to mind control him! But the worst part was that Harry didn’t recognize the blue fire spell, which meant that he was dealing with an unknown technique. If he wasn’t very careful everything could go very very wrong.
It was a shame that he was terrible at being careful.
He threw his already mourned bag of tea at the floating toddler (was it even human? It is floating) and snapped his hand out to bring out his wand. There was no way that this is a muggle mugging (his inner Hermione gave him an unimpressed eyebrow), and he was grateful to be able to use his best weapon.
The child wasn’t holding a weapon for him to disarm, so he spat out a quick Finite to see if he could cancel what was keeping him? her? them. them afloat. They stayed up in the air, and suddenly it felt like reality decided to take a spontaneous day vacation with common sense as its companion. The steps became a river of lava, shadowy tentacles sprouted from the walls to strike at him, and the sky seemed to suddenly disappear into a terrible abyss. A irritable, wailing keen sounded through the air, increasing his disorientation.
There was an immediate flurry of shields, ice, conjured rocks to create stepping stones, and hexes as Harry fell into the defensive. Harry had more power behind his attacks, he noted, but he couldn’t even hit his target. Everything that made it past all the obstacles and actually hit sailed right through them. But that was alright. Not ideal. He would prefer to knock them out and brusquely get them handed over to the Greek Aurors, but the most important goal needed to be taken care of.
As soon as he was in the right spot, he used his wand to whisk around the steam from the ice combating the lava to create a concealing mist. Lunging, he snatch the wrist of the terrified man and hauled him up and behind him. He darted down the step-stones he made in the lava river, wondering how long they were going to last. The man was gibbering in language Harry didn’t know, so that wasn’t very helpful.
The floating devil child materialized before them, causing Harry to halt suddenly, almost tipping over in the lava river. His shoes are never going to be quite the same anymore, though.
“Mou~ Running is useless, you are in my territory. You cannot leave. You will be answering all my questions satisfactorily and pay me for wasting my time.” Something that small with cute, chubby cheeks should not be that ominous, Harry decided.
“Let him go, then we talk.” Harry bargained back.
“No.” Short and indifferent, it startled Harry. He was a bit more use to melodramatic bragging from his opponents.
He also felt a knee jerk anger rise up, “Why not? If you don’t let him go I’m not saying anything!” Harry spat out. Not that he intended to say much, just stall, then apparate. He still had no idea how the entire environment was changed, it wasn’t anything like he had ever seen magic do before. And slinging out Bombardas and other more destructive curses is such a bad idea in the muggle side of town.
“It doesn’t matter. You are trapped.” They smugly replied.
Harry went still. He hated being trapped. Trapped by the Dursley’s crafted reputation, the damn cupboard, the Wizarding World’s expectations, unwanted contracts, life- threatening secrets, Malfoy Manor. His life has been a series of traps, and there was few things he hated more.
A strangled sound came from the man he was holding on to, Harry didn't take his eyes off the child but gave what he hoped was a reassuring hand squeeze.
Someone's life was depending on him.
He was Not going to end his life in a trap.
(Unbeknownst to him, his eyes glowed a piercing bright orange at this moment. This caused his Misty opponent to stiffen in surprise, giving Harry the split-second he needed)
He made a sharp upward motion with his orange fire wreathed wand, made a very precise complicated gesture, and whispered a furious Ignis Fulgur. There was silence for a second, then a massive orange lightning bolt shredded through the previously endless abyss forcing his opponent to break their concentration on anything besides defense. While they were distracted, Harry made sure that his grip was firm, then apparated.
The toddler wasn’t floating anymore, and their snake was now a frog. They stumbled awkwardly as they tried to recover from near death by Sky Flame lightning bolt. They’ll track down their target later, but they did manage to gain some interesting news. One, someone British that could easily resist Mist compulsions. Two, he could fight back against Illusions with a strange weapon with flexible abilities. Three, proved himself to have a soft exploitable heart. Four, he can teleport without using any Mist Flame. And five…
“Mou~ A civilian Sky. What a valuable piece of information.” Mammon mused out loud.
“Hermione, the weird orange thing happened again. This time it merged with my lightning bolt spell.” Harry fiddled with his luggage while he left the communication mirror propped up on a dresser. There was a sound of scribbling from the mirror, with Hermione’s thick curly hair being the only thing shown as she bent her head over her notes. The last time Harry neglected to inform Hermione when his ‘spontaneous orange fire phenomenon’ showed up, well, her idea of revenge is something Harry strived to avoid.
“Harry,” Hermione sighed exasperated, “you need to be more specific then that. You came back to life on fire. That is not a normal effect of coming back to life-” Ron’s voice muttered in the background about how there is nothing normal with coming back from the dead in the first place so what do they know, “And then it keeps popping back up with odd side effects. We don’t know what it’s doing to you and everything needs to be accounted for to figure it out! Your body temperature alone make this worrisome! And-”
Harry started to tune her out as she went over old information, he could have sworn he had an umbrella. He didn’t want to transfigure one, they always reverted at the worst possible moment. And the weather outside would be unforgiving to such a mishap. Preferably, Harry would stay inside with a butterbeer and his broomstick disassembly and polish kit while chatting with someone on mirror. But he was scheduled to meet with Zinovia Argyris, and he had heard stories of how she can wield water and air like it was second nature. And if he had time, a quick look in the library for any benevolent information on parslemagic would be nice. Even if it did mean research. Harry turned his attention back to Hermione as her lecture slowed down in a natural lull before breaking back into the conversation.
“Ok, so I was walking when I came across a floating demon baby terrorizing a man with a dead body.” Harry started.
“What.” Hermione gave him a flat look, and Ron said something that sounded like ‘Oh Merlin, not again’ which was ridiculous. Harry has never fought a floating baby before. His luck wasn’t that strange. (He resolutely ignored the fact that the very fact that it even happened at all was the problem)
“Exactly,” Harry nodded, and proceeded to cover what had happened. Hermione started to rub the bridge of her nose, then her temples. Then he got to the part where the fire wrapped around his wand came in, she grabbed her quill with a mutter about magical tool amplification.
“Harry, what were you thinking or doing when you casted the Fulgur spell? It was the only one with the effect, so what was so different about how you casted it?”
Harry shrugged, trying to recall fight memories a few days after the fact was always tricky. “I just, did not want to be there? I don’t know ‘Mione, that bloke really needed to get out of there and that kid was not going to let us leave. So I made it happen.”
Hermione gave a thoughtful hum as she looked at his statement and was comparing it to previous incidences. “It seems it consistently happen when you’re being exceptionally stubborn, or, what? Defiant? But that’s nothing new, you’ve always have a stubborn streak a mile wide,” she gave a disgusted huff, “I’m going to have to cross reference everything again. This would be so much easier if this would show up as magic with the diagnostic spells and equipment. Harry, what are you even looking for?”
“Umbrella!” Harry called out from under the bed.
“It’s in the loo!” Ron hollered over Hermione’s head as she whipped around to stare at him incredulously.
“Why would his umbrella be in washroom? Why do you even know that?” Hermione’s bafflement increased as Harry made a noise of triumph as he exited aforementioned room with a bright yellow umbrella.
“I roomed with him for seven years ‘Mione. That’s where he always forgets it.”
“When would he ever use an umbrella at Hogwarts?”
“Well, Seamus exploded or set on fire everything at some point and we didn’t alway have our wands-”
Harry shrugged on his over robe and double checked that he had everything needed before turning to the mirror with a wry grin as Ron and Hermione’s conversation had devolved into… The flammability of prank glitter? Harry shuddered, there were some things best left forgotten.
“Well, I really need to get going if I’m going to have any semblance to being on time. Have fun on your political trip to France ‘Mione, and have fun being her rescue option, Ron.” Harry gave a grin at Ron wry salute and Hermione’s expression of determination.
“I’m not getting arrested this time, I’ve read up the laws on public disturbances and protest regulations!”
“I would say we’ve rubbed off on you, but you’re the one who set a teacher on fire during first year.” Ron chimed in gleefully. Harry cut off Hermione’s rebuttal with a tap of his finger and slipped the mirror into one of his many, many hidden pockets. Sighing mentally at the torrent outside, he readied his umbrella and braved his way to the Kifissia suburb entrance.
Harry peered suspiciously at the bright blue wooden door, he’s been through this one but he couldn’t remember if it was the Kifissia door or the Kolonaki door, they looked similar but led out to opposite sides of the town.
Athens had a neat shortcut system, if you wanted to go to different districts you could open a specific door in the right way and it would open up into a discrete alleyway. The trick was knowing which doors led to where. The local magicals knew them like breathing, but Harry had accidentally found himself in the wrong part of town more than once. Or simply used the muggle door next to it. That was always awkward.
It was startling the first time Harry went to the Kifissia suburb. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is the entrance to the main Magical Greek District, being located right by a main performance theater covered many a strange interpretation of muggle clothing. It was also in one of the oldest parts of town and was steeped in ancient history, as expected of Magical preferences. Kifissia was where rich people like to vacation and was significantly more modern than what Harry was used to associating with Magicals.
It was also where Zinovia Argyris lived and gave private tutoring outside of the school months. Harry shifted the doorknob by three quarters and pushed, awkwardly maneuvering his umbrella to go with him. A quick glance around assured him that he managed to get the right door this time.
Closing the door securely behind him carefully made his way out of the alleyway and into the city.
Zinovia was a fascinating woman. She wasn’t traditionally beautiful, with her thick eyebrows, deep set eyes, and a strong nose. But she was certainly a striking figure with a commanding tone that made one want to snap their spine straight and listen.
She was also pelting her student with a paintball gun.
A spark of wry mischief in her blue eyes lit when she confided to Harry that it was a training tactic she picked up from an Italian muggle colleague.
She was a big believer in her students being able to defend against magical and muggle weapons, and guns were most certainly dangerous.
It was also an excellent stress reliever.
Harry was going to have so much fun when Hogwarts started up again.
Perhaps when he was in Italy Harry would be able to meet up with Zinovia’s friend Lal Mirch, she sounded like an interesting person.
Harry held back a frustrated sigh when his translation charm ran out of time again. Sure, it was a simple spell but having to to do it repeatedly was annoying. One of these days he’s going to break down and just learn the language. Eventually. French was still confusing sometimes.
He checked how many pages he had left and noted that the was finally near the end, then renewed his charm.
One of the downsides of Magic being a secret society was that even with said society Magical knowledge was jealously guarded. Especially if it was connected to Family Magics, was an obscure trait, or was tainted by a previous Dark practitioner.
This may be one of the most comprehensive books on parslemagic Harry has managed to find, but he was finding a lot of suppositions or just flat out wrong facts intermixed with truth.
Harry sighed. This really isn’t his specialty.
There was a lot of insistence that all parslemagic users were naturally good at healing, and Harry... wasn’t. He was competent, and knew how to minister basic aid. But he was not a natural.
However, there were some sporadic references to the other known parlsemagic specialties besides healing: rebirth, transformation, and immortality.
Harry wasn’t crazy about what that suggested about him. Especially considering his relationship with death.
With a huff, Harry finished and rolled up the scroll. It gave him some interesting tidbits he’ll experiment with later, but for the rest of it he’ll give it the Potter Special. Ignore it until it goes away or tries to kill him.
“Damn miser midget, fuckin’ hiked up their prices this time.”
“Eh, it’s not like there’s never a benefit when they do. It’s just a really, really expensive benefit. Worth knowing who the new Flame users are, though. Especially the unaligned ones. Now hand me that stack of papers, shut up, and work.”
Lal... Lal what are you even doing here? You were very much not planned. First Viper, then you.
Guys, I literally have no idea where this story is going. Hopefully somewhere interesting.
Hope you all enjoyed the chap!
It's been rather quiet for Harry on his sabbatical, he should know better by now.
I do not own KHR.
Getting Harry from one side of a country to the other takes far more effort than he has any right to.
Sorry for taking so long, RL sucker punched me. And it's been taking boxing lessons.
I've dithered over this chapter for a stupidly long time, but it looks like the flame bonding is just going to have to wait until next chapter. So I'm just going to throw this out there.
Hope you guys it!
Northern Italy had some beautiful castles. Considering the fact that muggles built them up on precarious mountain tops with no magic to help them, Harry made sure to appreciate each one he happened across. Tomorrow, he’ll visit the Arcane Academia to meet up their local Defense Master expert. But afterwards, Harry smiled. He deliberately set aside enough time to travel down to the southern part of Italy for sightseeing.
It’s so refreshing to have the time for some relaxation without a death threat hanging over his head.
(In retrospect, Harry really should’ve known better. He doesn’t regret anything, but he knew his luck was not to be underestimated.)
The first hint of trouble didn’t show up until he was in San Marino. The city was exquisitely picturesque, and the locals were benignly tolerant of his language barrier. Some could speak English, others worked just fine with Harry’s awkward pantomimes.
But a few days in, there was a small shift in the population. Harry couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but the way the locals looked at him had an edge to it. It wasn’t malicious, Harry was good at spotting that kind of scrutiny. But something was wrong.
He was perusing some preserves (sending things back to Mrs. Weasley periodically has proven to be a wise choice in the long run. Happy mother, less fussing) while a wizened lady calmly and surely put every single interrogator Harry has ever known to shame.
Thankfully what she wanted to know wasn’t anything that made Harry want to flee, though she did make him sputter a few times when questioning his love life.
He should have left that afternoon, Harry decided, staring down the barrel of the gun. It’s not often that he gets so many blatant warnings that Potter Luck was rearing its head. But he was almost certain that he was being held up by Mafia (or was that the Mob? No, that’s American). Unless there is some other well dressed armed Italians that ‘suggest’ that you do what they say or else.
Harry just couldn’t think of why these muggles would target him. They’re not even asking for his money!
He eyed his surroundings, there was an excessive amount of well dressed men loitering about. If they were wizards, it was understandable. He had a reputation.
Now, how to bring down the force that rep on these men without breaking the Statute?
Everything was on fire.
Which... is not exactly the ideal state of things in general. Harry wasn’t expecting for his incendio to work so well. Or for the criminals to react like that to fire. He quickly spelled a locked door open and darted into a well maintained garden that bordered a forested area for Harry to aim towards. Thank Merlin for apparition.
That… That was going on the list of ‘I’m never going to tell anybody what happened’.
It’s not a cut and dried list, Hermione and Ron were uncannily good at rooting out the stuff he wants hidden.
But allowing himself to be captured by mafia muggles only to summon up a swarm of biting insects and fire when they weren’t looking in order to sow chaos and escape… Harry honestly forgot that most Italians were Catholics and had issues with plagues.
Perhaps moving farther south at a faster pace than previously planned would be a good idea.
Harry loved magical post. All he needed was a name, and a letter could be sent to the right person regardless of where they are. (One day, he’ll finally get another owl. But Hedwig’s death still lingers with him, and he hasn’t found one that was right for him)
Magical post is especially useful now, since he didn’t pick up Lal’s address from Zinovia when he had the chance. Poor foresight on his part, he was a little distracted by shooting at her beleaguered students.
It would be nice to meet a friendly, even if unknown, face in the sprawling foreign city. Hopefully Lal will write back before he leaves the country.
With the use of the cell phone and email becoming more and more useful, Lal’s mail runs had turn more into bill and junk collection day. And even that tends to build up into a precarious pile before she sorts through it. At work she’s the picture of efficiency, at home. Well. She spent more time at work anyway.
She gave each envelope a disinterested cursory glance as she sorted them into the trash or into her bill section. Lal automatically tossed a parchment envelope in the trash can before the odd texture registered in her mind.
Plucking the envelope from the trash can, she raised an eyebrow when she saw that her name was actually handwritten instead of typed, and her address wasn’t even on it. Just her name.
She narrowed her eyes. Suspicious.
Lal carefully checked it for traps and Mist shenanigans. Finding none, she cautiously flipped it open and squinted at the short note.
Whoever wrote this had appalling handwriting.
Dear Lal Mirch,
Hello, my name is Harry Potter. I’m a private defense teacher for gifted school children, and I’m currently on sabbatical creating contacts with other defense instructors of various backgrounds. I’ve heard some good things from Zinovia, the practice of using paintball guns is inspired. And devious.
If you have the time, I’ll be in southern Italy by the end of the month. If you’re interested, it would be nice to meet up and have a chat.
Harry J. Potter
Lal looked at the letter skeptically. It felt naive and innocent, but there was no way that she was going to commit to such a meeting without researching the hell out of this Potter.
What kind of paper trail was this?
Born in Godric Hollow, Whales, disappeared only to show up in the education system in Surrey, London at five with no Guardian transference papers, only to vanish again after he hit eleven. At one point he was registered as a terrorist, but was proven to be falsely accused by a corrupt government official that was impossible to track down.
There was a flimsy certificate that declared him a professor, but there were no college transcripts or teaching degree.
That was on the civilian side.
Harry Potter also popped up on the Mafia’s new info of up and coming Flame Users.
As a Sky .
The information was really new, barely in the water.
Lal would have set someone to watch him regardless, and here he was reaching out to her specifically.
Trap or Coincidence?
Could she even pass up on this opportunity?
One last check before she made any serious thought to commitment. Lal was sure that she had Zinovia’s number stashed away somewhere.
Harry was enjoying Sicily more that Italy at the moment. Between the mafia run-in in San Marino and that bit of awkwardness of the Holy City of Rome.
Harry wasn’t expecting that priest to react that way, he promised.
Or for that building’s support structure to be that weak.
Or for what happened to that one creepy guy who kept following him around like Harry was catnip.
Harry is never going back.
Florence was nice, though.
And Sicily was looking to be less of a ‘and we may never speak of this again’ experience.
Harry has far, far too many of those.
Taormina wasn’t the biggest city on the island, but Harry was quickly falling in love with it. Maybe he could retire here. Or, if he could ever talk himself into spending the money, buy a summer home. It had just the right amount of sky and sea, being built on top of a mountain with red tiled roofs flowing down to meet the water. Flowering balconies, brightly colored pottery and murals, quick smiles, and the jovial atmosphere made Harry feel the tension ease out of his shoulders.
A small, tawny owl fluttered up to Harry, prompting him to hold his arm as a roost.
“Do you have some time for some food and water?” He asked politely as he accepted the envelope. The owl ruffled its wings in a negative and flew off, leaving Harry to eye his letter curiously. He waved his wand over it, checking for any traps and deadly paraphernalia, but it came up clean.
Harry glanced at the front and noted that it came from the Muggle-to-Wizard post office before opening it. He made a small hum of surprised delight, Lal Mirch actually got back to him, Harry wasn’t sure if his letter would have encouraged her to meet, but it looked like he’ll get to talk shop with someone with a professional soldier’s perspective.
“ Mr. Potter,
That is acceptable, I can meet at the Timoleone Cafe at 3pm on the 27th.
Don’t be late.
Well, that was rather brusque.
Either that, or she was a naturally terrible at letter writing.
… Wait. How did she know which city he was currently in?
“Well. A neutral civilian Sky wandering in Vongola territory. How interesting.” A cane tapped as its bearer considered the information. “Young Tsunayoshi is clearly too busy with the Cervello problem to properly attend to this young man quite yet. It won’t hurt to… Scout ahead for a bit. Lay some ground rules.”
A calculating smile emerged from under a grey mustache.
“After all, nobody fears an old man. Coyote, please gather everyone up. We’re going on a little outing.”